African American Women’s History in the Digital Age: A Readex Breakfast Presentation

On January 26, 2014, during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, will present “Still Reading the Silences: African American Women’s History in the Digital Age.”

Prof. Dunbar’s talk will focus on the work of recovering early African American women's history, both before and during the digital revolution. She will examine the utility and limitations of digitization in early African American history. For many historians, the digitization of documents and images has allowed scholars wider access to important evidence. Yet for historians of women and people of African descent the evidence trail remains elusive. While digitization promotes the wider dissemination of historical evidence, it doesn't provide a remedy for absent voices. Dunbar will discuss the ways that historians of women and people of African descent must engage in new digitization technology as well as older techniques of gathering and interpreting evidence.

About the Presenter: Erica Armstrong Dunbar is Associate Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She has recently participated in several documentaries, including "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment" and "The Abolitionists," an American Experience production on PBS. In 2011, Professor Dunbar was appointed the first director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia. She has been the recipient of Ford, Mellon, and SSRC fellowships and most recently has been named an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Her first book is A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City (Yale University Press, 2008), and her newest book project is Never Caught: The President's Runaway Slave Woman. In February, a video of Prof. Dunbar’s presentation will be available here on The Readex Blog. For more information about Prof. Dunbar’s presentation, or about Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia, please contact readexmarketing@readex.com.

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